Japanese cinema and Japanese diasporic cinema are well represented at this year’s Reel Asian and we are stoked to share these films with our JFT community.
The Japan Foundation, Toronto is a proud continued supporter of Reel Asian through our grant programs.
Okiku and the World せかいのおきく
Directed by SAKAMOTO Junji • Feature Film • Thursday, November 9, 8:00PM • TIFF Bell Lightbox
Set near the end of the Edo period, the film presents a fresh take on the time and on samurai culture. Okiku (KUROKI Haru) is the daughter of a fallen samurai. The two of them now live in a tenement far from luxury. One day, she meets Chuji (Kanichiro) and love blooms. The problem is that Chuji is a manure man who collects excrement to sell to farmers. Despite the downfall of samurais, there is still a social gap between them. Will this come between the Edo-period Japanese Romeo and Juliet?
Directed by YAMAGUCHI Junta • Feature Film • Friday, November 10, 8:00PM • TIFF Bell Lightbox
From the team behind Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes (Reel Asian Official Selection, 2021) comes YAMAGUCHI Junta’s latest time loop comedy, River. Set in a quaint inn along the Kibune river near Kyoto—a one-street village wedged between a riverbed on one side and mountains on the other—staff and guests find themselves stuck in a continuous two-minute time loop. Mikoto, a waitress, returns to the river bank after each loop, plunging into a relentless cycle of perplexing scenarios. Her coworkers, the cook, and the mystified guests all grapple with mounting confusion. Despair and disorientation engulf those at the inn, as the uncanny sensation of repeatedly returning to the same moment leads to a frantic quest for answers.
Directed by Meredith Hama-Brown • Feature Film • Sunday, November 12, 5:00PM • TIFF Bell Lightbox
Judith, a Japanese Canadian woman, and her reluctant white husband attend a week-long couple’s retreat on a coastal British Columbia island, their two daughters in tow. With Judith grieving the recent loss of her mother, and her connection to her Japanese Canadian identity, the couple’s disconnect grows as she finds herself infatuated with another, seemingly perfect, interracial couple at the retreat. The parents’ rift impresses upon their daughters, as Emmy, the fearful younger sister, becomes increasingly anxious, while the eldest, Stephanie, cautiously navigates the preteen social dynamics of day camp.
Directed by Maya Tanaka • Narrative Short • Saturday, November 11, 12:00PM • TIFF Bell Lightbox
Flaming lobsters and menstruation woes plague 12-year-old Yuki’s doomed Hawai’ian beach vacation. Presented as part of the “Let’s Be Friends” shorts programme.
Sugar Glass Bottle アメガラス
Directed by Neo Sora • Narrative Short • Saturday, November 11, 12:00PM • TIFF Bell Lightbox
In the peripheries of near-future Tokyo, high schoolers Kou and Yuta practice a prank that begins as a faux argument and involves a prop glass bottle stolen from their theater department. Presented as part of the “Let’s Be Friends” shorts programme.
The Old Young Crow 今昔カラス
Directed by Liam LoPinto • Narrative Short • Saturday, November 18, 10:00AM-3:00PM • Innis Town Hall
Mehrdad, an Iranian boy, befriends an old Japanese woman in a graveyard in Tokyo. Presented as part of the “Wee Asian” shorts programme.
All program notes and synopses written by the Reel Asian Programming Team.